Have you ever tried walking up hill on packed, slippery ice in the winter time? It’s even worse going downhill. Winter time will be here in a few months or so and we will have the opportunity to test that out.
My son-in-law loves snow, the more the better. I am not fond at all of winter. It’s cold, dead, messy and often quite slick for walking and driving. Another thing I have noticed as I get closer to the upper end of the aging scale is that, at least for me, I pretty much stay cold all winter. You may laugh now, but consider this well-known saying that was supposedly engraved on a tombstone.
“Pause, stranger, when you pass me by:
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so you will be.
So prepare for death and follow me.”
An unknown passerby scratched these additional words on the tombstone:
“To follow you I’m not content,
Until I know which way you went.”
I’ve always liked that, but the funny thing is, it is often true of more than just death; being cold all winter for example.
Any time we walk on snow and especially ice we’re always taking a chance of falling and possibly hurting ourselves. Have you ever wondered why falling down doesn’t hurt a small child as much as a grown adult? My guess is, they’re closer to the ground and don’t have as far to go before they land.
When we were in grade school (that’s what we called it back then) we would slide standing up down a steep slope on our school yard. No fancy sleds. Didn’t even use a shovel or cardboard, just stood up and went for it. It’s fun when you’re young.
One thing that isn’t fun or funny is being duped by Satan about our stance with Jesus Christ. I fear that Satan has many professing Christians thinking they are saved and they are not.
Jesus said, “… when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)
As of 2012 the polls tell us that 71% of the American population claims to be Christian and 33.4% of those in the world claim to be Christian. I’ve also seen percentages as high as 75-80% for America. These numbers don’t surprise me. Although the percentage rate for Christians throughout the world is probably a truer figure for this country.
I’ve always stated that many will be shocked at the Rapture or upon their death (whichever comes first). Many today, thinking they are a Christian, will be rejected. I am reminded of the following Scripture passages.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Why is it that only a few find the narrow gate? There can only be one answer. “… I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Most prefer the wide gate because it allows them to be religious and have nothing changed in their lives. They really don’t want to be “of Christ” since that involves a personal relationship with Him and obedience to His Word. Religion is much better … they think.
Also, Jesus is not saying that works save us. To the contrary, to do the will of the Father is to believe on His Son.
“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:40)
Once real faith is placed in Jesus alone for salvation, he/she will be born again and will produce good works; some 30, some 60, some a 100 fold. Human works are not welcomed prior to being saved. It is by faith alone. But after salvation, works will eventually come forth because the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in the new believer.
True faith will produce works in the Christian life. Will the Christian still sin occasionally? Of course, we still have the sin nature within us (See Romans 7), but no true Christian can remain in sin and not be miserable.
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?” (James 2:14-20)
The true Christian will grow in faith and make an honest effort to obey the commands of our Savior and Lord (John 15:14), not legalistically as the scribes and Pharisees, but out of love and gratitude for His mercy.
Most of us in this country are just like many of the Jews in Jerusalem. We’re all in if there is something in it for us, but count me out if it means getting serious about Jesus.
“Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.” (emphasis mine, John 2:23-25)
In the 23rd verse the Scripture says they, “believed in his name.” The Greek word for “believed” is “pisteuo.” In the 24th verse the Scripture says that, “Jesus would not entrust himself to them.” The Greek word for “entrust” is “pisteuo.”
Many “believed” when they saw the miracles, but Jesus knew their “belief” was not real. Both “believed” and “entrust” are the same Greek word. Their faith was false and Jesus had no faith in them. He knew their public acknowledgement of Him was not true faith. It was only a pretense. Read the 24th verse and the 25th verse again.
This is where we are today. Many people are saying they “believe,” but their belief is not real. They’re like a butterfly that lands on a flower for a few seconds, and then it’s gone. They only stick around long enough to please their sweet tooth. They really don’t want to commit to Jesus for the long-term. They’re faith is not real.
These dear folks are the hardest to talk to because they think they’re “alright.” They go to church. They own a Bible. They’ve been baptized. They’ve memorized some religious verbiage that makes them sound holy. They’re okay … they think … but they’re not. They’re on the slippery slopes of pseudo faith. They’re sliding into hell, and don’t even know it. None of these things will save anyone. Only real faith that is committed to Jesus will save anyone.
If we are one of those who say we “believe” in Jesus, are we sure that He “entrust” Himself to us? We may fool each other, but we can’t fool Him.
I will close with the following Scripture, praying that we all take heed. Let us examine ourselves upon against God’s Holy Word and nothing else.
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.” (2 Corinthians 13:5-6)
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Rapture Ready: http://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html